Technology | Design and Development

Material Design and Javascript Frameworks

Words by Alex Matheson
Material Design and Javascript Frameworks

Material design might evoke images of striking modern art pieces with sharp lines and ambiguous meanings. In the context we’re going to discuss today though, it’s actually related to UI design and influenced the creation of libraries of components that developers can plug into their applications. What do all of those things mean? Let’s find out.

What is Material Design?

Material Design is a design language developed by Google that, according to its creators, combines principles of good design with technical and scientific innovation. The look and feel of Material Design mimics real world materials such as pen and paper, utilising hard edges and shading to give digital elements a real-world feel.

With Google being as omnipresent as they are, Material Design is probably familiar to anyone reading this article without them necessarily knowing. Many common elements such as drop-down boxes, calendars, simple forms and other such things are created based on Material Design principles.

These design principles have been widely adopted and further developed. While the Material Design language itself describes a way that elements within an application could or should look and feel, you now have Javascript frameworks that can be used to build libraries of components that fit into user interfaces and single-page applications.

What is a Javascript Framework?

A Javascript framework is a system that allows for the creation of libraries of standardised components that can fit into single-page applications and user interfaces. Some of the most popular libraries of components built on these Javascript frameworks have millions of subscribed developers.

That doesn’t mean millions of people using the end product, but millions of people building the end product, and potentially billions of end users engaging with these components. It’s this mass adoption of these frameworks and their respective libraries that makes them so enduring.

These components don’t just handle the look and feel of an element within an application, but the behind-the-scenes-functionality as well. That means developers don’t need to waste time and resources on the minutiae of detail, like the expanding and contracting of a card view, or the way hover over text is displayed, but can focus on the core functionality of their application.

Their wide use and abundant support means utilising these premade components, either as is or as a foundation for developers to build on, not only saves time on the development side but comes with the bonus of instant familiarity on the user side.

What is a component library?

For development purposes, a component library is a directory of components that can be added into programs. They might be added in as is, but are often amended to fit the needs of the larger application.

There’s no limit to the amount of component libraries there are out there, or could potentially be in the future. Some are public and some are private. Some are supported by massive corporations and some are the passion projects of bedroom developers.

Probably the most well used at the time of writing are:


Angular is developed and maintained by Google and a dedicated group of corporations and individuals. As it’s a Google project at heart, it’s closely tied to its Material Design roots


Vue was created by an ex-Google employee, Evan You, who worked on the development of Angular. He wanted to take what Angular did well and make something lightweight


React is easily the most popular for the time being, with almost double the amount of developer downloads of the previous two combined. That’s no surprise though as it’s a Facebook developed framework

Why do we use these technologies?

If you’ve kept up with us to this point, you can probably spot a few reasons why these technologies are attractive to work with. Their popularity gives our developers a wealth of well maintained assets on which to build.

From a solid, well crafted base, we can take these elements and develop them further within our own applications to provide powerful solutions to modern problems.

Our web-apps can benefit from rapid, iterative design as some of the core elements that go into them are available in their most basic form, ready for us to pick up and run with.

The best way to see our use of them in action is to give Atlas Play a go for yourself. It’s an award winning BPMN and workflow automation platform built with a no-code philosophy that you can try today.

To start your 30 day free trial, give the link below a click and see just how accessible world leading digital transformation can be.